Professional Scam Artists – part 22

Rachel Notley, NDP Premier of Alberta

“The Oil Industry’s PR Offensive” by David Gray-Donald (Briarpatch)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

I’m walking through the massive exhibition floor at the 50th annual Global Petroleum Show in Calgary, looking for the signs saying “I HEART CANADIAN OIL & GAS.” As the industry experiences low oil prices and trouble building pipelines, I’m trying to understand what strategies and messaging these pro-oil public relations groups are adopting – and whether the campaigns are working…

I don’t see Cody Battershill, founder and driving force behind Canada Action… The group has 63,000 Facebook followers and 14,000 Twitter followers. Online, they praise Canadian oil and gas for creating jobs and economic benefit, and for the industry’s supposed environmental responsibility. Meanwhile, they delight in bashing Greenpeace, and occasionally post about Canadian military achievements, like Canada’s contributions in the World Wars…

Canada Action’s success and style has been mimicked by Canada’s Energy Citizens, initiated in 2014. Canada’s Energy Citizens distributes stickers nearly identical to Canada Action’s and retweets some of their content. The group also occasionally shares posts from overtly conservative groups like B.C. Proud. While not mentioned on their social media pages, Canada’s Energy Citizens is simply a marketing campaign for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), an industry association and lobbying group…

CAPP calls the group alternately a “grassroots movement,” a “grassroots organization,” and a “grassroots community of citizens.” With the help of paid Facebook ads, they have amassed a very large online following of people (including over 233,000 Facebook followers) who like, share, and comment enthusiastically on their posts. In July, a joint investigation by the Toronto Star, the National Observer, and Global News revealed that CAPP, through this “grassroots” persona, reached an audience of nearly 17.5 million people for its pro-Trans Mountain pipeline expansion campaign – and targeted voters in 13 Ontario “swing ridings” preceding the Ontario election, which took place on June 7…

I’m wondering what other PR groups are at the petroleum show. I leave the Canada Action booth and, around the corner, see a booth for a campaign I don’t recognize, “Made With Petroleum.” …The fact that oil is thrust on people at every turn in modern society is given as evidence of our consent to it, and to scold against pushing for alternatives.

I ask who is behind the campaign and which organizations are supporting the project. The rep points to the “Wenzel Petroleum Consultants Ltd” sign posted behind the campaign-branded stickers and posters, explaining that Made With Petroleum is based in Calgary.

I leave the booth and check out their website, It redirects to Down the site a bit, I see Areco Perforating is listed as what looks like a sponsor or partner. It turns out that Areco Perforating developed and manufactures the CoFracTM Gun, a piece of fracking equipment, in Xi’an, China, but lists its mailing address in Texas…

Another major player throwing its weight behind the industry – to the delight of some and dismay of others – is the provincial government. Alberta’s first NDP premier, Rachel Notley, gives a speech at the petroleum show. It’s titled “Keep Canada Working” and it’s part of a campaign and tour she’s been working on relentlessly to push for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion…

The campaign website features testimonials from allies more fitting of Conservative or Liberal governments: the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Business Council of British Columbia, and the Surrey Board of Trade. The Keep Canada Working campaign is largely in line with CAPP and Canada Action’s messaging. Where Alberta differs from CAPP can be seen in a Keep Canada Working video ad titled “How is Trans Mountain Part of Canada’s Climate Plan?,” which says revenues from Trans Mountain will help us in “transitioning us to the next economy, one less reliant on fossil fuels.” The Alberta NDP, which at least mentions a fossil fuel phaseout, has, however, done next to nothing to articulate a clear vision or implement that energy transition during their time in power. They have instead passed legislation that allows tarsands emissions to grow by nearly 50 per cent from 2014 levels and called it a climate plan.

From The Globe And Mail:
Private Dan Bard/Private Dan Bard/Department of National Defence

“Ottawa’s incestuous world of pro-military lobbying” by Yves Engler (Yves Engler)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

How do you feel about taxpayer-funded organizations using your tax dollars to lobby elected politicians for more of your tax dollars?

Welcome to the Canadian military.

Last week Anju Dhillon told the House of Commons “I saw first-hand the sacrifices that our men and women in the navy have made to protect our country.” The Liberal MP recently participated in the Canadian Leaders at Sea Program, which takes influential individuals on “action-packed” multi-day navy operations. Conducted on both coasts numerous times annually, nine Parliamentarians from all parties participated in a Spring 2017 excursion and a number more joined at the end of last year. The Commander of the Atlantic Fleet, Commodore Craig Baines, describes the initiative’s political objective: “By exposing them to the work of our men and women at sea, they gain a newfound appreciation for how the RCN protects and defends Canada at home and abroad. They can then help us spread that message to Canadians when they return home.”

And vote for more military spending.

MPs are also drawn into the military’s orbit in a variety of other ways. Set up by DND’s Director of External Communications and Public Relations in 2000, the Canadian Forces Parliamentary Program was labeled a “valuable public-relations tool” by the Globe and Mail…

The NATO Parliamentary Association is another militarist lobby in the nation’s capital…

More politically dependent than almost all other industries, arms manufacturers play for keeps in the nation’s capital. They target ads and events sponsorships at decision makers while hiring insiders and military stars to lobby on their behalf…

The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries is the primary industry lobby group…

The sad fact is enormous profits flow to a few from warfare. In a system where money talks, militarists on Parliament Hill will always be among the loudest voices.

President Donald Trump talks with Lockheed Martin president and CEO Marilyn Hewson, right, and director and chief test pilot Alan Norman in front of a F-35 as he participates in a “Made in America Product Showcase” at the White House, Monday, July 23, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

“US F-35 Fighter Jet Fizzles, Totaled in Epic Crash Just One Day After Combat Debut” by Whitney Webb (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

BEAUFORT, SOUTH CAROLINA — According to several reports citing U.S. military sources, the Lockheed Martin-manufactured F-35 jet – the most expensive U.S. fighter jet ever and the most expensive weapon system in the world – crashed spectacularly on Friday, just one day after its first-ever successful airstrike, resulting in the “total loss” of the aircraft.

The crashed plane, each of which costs U.S. taxpayers more than $100 million, was a U.S. Marine Corps F-35B and had taken off from a training squadron at the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina. The pilot safely ejected from the plane prior to the crash and there were no civilian injuries…

Yet, the recent crash of the F-35 jet has brought renewed scrutiny to the program, which has long been controversial not only for its high cost but for long-standing concerns about the jet’s effectiveness in combat. Indeed, the F-35 jet program has been called one of the most egregious cases of government waste in regards to defense spending, ever…

Despite the setbacks of the F-35, the U.S. has continued to not only pour more money into the F-35 program itself but to award Lockheed Martin massive contracts in apparent ignorance of the terrible precedent set by the controversial fighter jet program. For instance, in August, the U.S. government awarded Lockheed Martin over $3 billion in new contracts in just two days after concerns were raised regarding missile system advances made by Russia and China.

With the U.S. government continuing to funnel money to Lockheed for the development of weapons and defense systems deemed critical to U.S. “national security,” it again appears that the U.S. corporate welfare, which is so characteristic of the country’s military-industrial complex, is in fact driving the U.S. military’s decline in competitiveness and ironically helping accelerate the U.S.’ loss of its former global hegemony.

Relatives of Palestinian Muhammed al-Sadiq, 21, mourn at the family home during his funeral in Gaza City, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. Gaza’s Health Ministry said Al-sadiq was killed and at least 10 others wounded by Israeli fire during a protest near the perimeter fence. Thousands of Palestinian protesters gathered Monday on a beach in northern Gaza near the frontier, burning tires and hurling rocks toward Israeli soldiers, who responded with tear gas and live fire. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

“Meet Ten Corporate Giants Helping Israel Massacre Gaza Protesters” by Joe Catron (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

NEW YORK — As Israeli soldiers gun down unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in the Great March of Return, their lethal operations depend on an array of contractors and suppliers, many of them companies based outside Israel.

“The Israeli military relies on a network of international companies, supplying everything from sniper rifles to tear gas, to carry out its massacres of protesters in Gaza,” Tom Anderson, a researcher for Corporate Occupation, told MintPress News. “These companies are knowingly supporting war crimes, and are complicit in state-orchestrated murder.”…

Caterpillar is known internationally for Israel’s use of its bulldozers to demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and inside Israel itself…

Combined Systems — a Jamestown, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer owned by Point Lookout Capital and the Carlyle Group — supplies light weaponry and security equipment, such as tear gas and flash grenades, to repressive governments worldwide…

While other manufacturers, like General Motors, also provide vehicles used by the Israeli army to deploy its soldiers along the Gaza barrier, Ford’s are distinctive for their creative use…

Along with herbicides from the Dow Chemical Company and ADAMA Agricultural Solutions, an Israeli unit of China’s state-owned National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina), Israel sprays Bayer subsidiary Monsanto’s notorious Glyphosate (marketed as Roundup), a known human carcinogen, on Palestinian fields across its military barrier with Gaza several times annually…

Formerly one of Israel’s biggest occupation contractors, G4S sold its major Israeli subsidiary, G4S Israel, in 2016, but kept a stake in the construction and operation of Policity, Israel’s privatized national police academy…

Now three companies with interlocking operations — HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and DXC Technology — HP equips the Israeli military with computers and has undertaken contracts to “virtualize” IDF operations, starting in 2007 with a pilot program for the Israeli navy, which enforces the blockade of Gaza…

HSBC provides extensive financing to some of the most notorious military manufacturers in the world, several of them Israeli…


Among casualties of the Great March of Return, Amnesty International reports, some “wounds bear the hallmarks of U.S.-manufactured M24 Remington sniper rifles shooting 7.62mm hunting ammunition…


An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The Anglo-American candidate to be President of Russia, replacing Vladimir Putin, reprivatizing Russia’s resource assets, and emasculating the country’s defences, has made a fresh pitch.

Alexei Kudrin, sacked as Finance Minister, demoted as presidential economic adviser, then appointed Chairman of the Accounting Chamber five months ago, gave a speech to the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RUIE) in Moscow on Wednesday. “Today”, Kudrin declared, “Russia’s foreign policy should be subordinated to the reduction of tension in our relations with other countries and, at least, to the preservation or reduction of the sanctions regime, not to the build-up. Today I would measure the effectiveness of our foreign policy on these indicators. We do not have such global problems for Russia — risks of military and political importance which would require increasing tension with other countries.”

By other countries, Kudrin means the United States. By subordinating Russian foreign policy, Kudrin means withdrawal from Syria; from Crimea and the Donbass; and capitulation to US sanctions. By reduction of tension, Kudrin means regime change in the Kremlin – himself instead of Putin.

“The Times Whitewashes Haley” by Michael Howard (American Herald Tribune)

The decampment of Nikki Haley from Trump’s military regime is, or ought to be, a nonstory. The United States’ ambassador to the United Nations is a ceremonial position that serves no purpose. The very idea of it is absurd. The US is a law unto itself, readily violating the UN Charter whenever the latter’s principles get in the way of the former’s imperial agenda…

The United Nations is useful insofar as it can provide cover for American crimes. Otherwise it’s merely a thing to be sidestepped and disregarded. It’s of no consequence who serves as the empire’s official envoy to the UN. Still, Haley’s resignation is a welcome circumstance, if only because we’ll be spared her vapid effusions going forward. This is the woman who has repeatedly cast blame on Iran for the cataclysm in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been deliberately murdering civilians, millions of whom are starving to death, since 2015—using US-made munitions. So atrocious is the Saudi-led massacre that even CNN has begun to report on it objectively. For Haley, though, it pales in comparison to the handful of rockets fired at Saudi Arabia by the Houthis, Iran’s so-called proxy.

Moral hypocrisy may be part and parcel of politics, but Haley took it to uncommon depths. When Israeli snipers mowed down hundreds of non-violent demonstrators in Gaza earlier this year, killing children, medics and journalists, Haley had this to say: “Let’s remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy [to Jerusalem in violation of international law]. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday.”

She went on to condemn Gazans for flying kites over the fence into Israel and asserted with a straight face that “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.” When the Palestinian envoy began to speak to the delegation, Haley walked out of the room. Such is her racist contempt for the victims of Israeli terrorism. She might just as well have called them “sand-niggers.”

Rod Serling

“60 Minutes Leslie Stahl: Perfect Shill for the Eternal Imperial War Machine” by Patrice Greanville (The Greanville Post)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In but the lastest major display of media dishonesty, and dripping hypocrisy and sanctimony from every pore, Leslie Stahl, a veteran disinforming [sic] agent with the CBS 60 Minutes (pseudo) news stable, pressed Trump from the right last evening to force him to reafirm his commitment to the official Russiagate narrative, everlasting hatred for Russia, North Korea, constant wars, and so on.

Stahl, who, like the rest of the press has drunk the Democrats’ Kool Aid and obviously serves as an eager vector for the imperial disease, knew well what she was doing. As noted in many articles posted on this site, this is the Wall Street/CIA/identity politics Democrats’ favorite self-serving tack, pretending to care about human rights, peace, democracy (“they meddled in our sacrosanct elections!”), and the rest of the American exceptionalist bunk, so loyally disseminated by the mainstream media. The double standards are glaring. Stahl and her ilk are always ready to remind Trump of Moscow’s putative attack on “our democracy” (itself a laughable myth) but would never dream of attacking Israel for the same sin, despite the fact that both Israel and the Saudis, to mention just two notorious and demonstrable power players in US politics, meddle constantly in the shaping of US foreign policy…

…For while humanity – to mention another low point in the interview – has welcomed the relaxing of tensions in the long tormented Korean peninsula and the brotherly rapprochement between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in (this is a region where, for those living under a rock, due to longstanding US machinations, only a few months ago the world stood on the edge of the nuclear abyss), the Pentagon and braying media assets like Stahl are apparently not happy, as the system rests on a deeply entrenched, bloated and utterly corrupt military Keynesianism for its economic stability and international supremacism.

“Is there anything Nancy Pelosi would impeach a president, vice president, or justice for?” by David Swanson (Let’s Try Democracy)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

=== == =
Stage set: a dining room at left, an office at right

A woman enters the office where the phone is ringing. She answers it.

NP: Hello? Why do you ask? Yes, I’m sure. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Impeachment is off the table. Now let me tell you about some new legislative proposals that I think you’re really going to like. I’ll give you what we’re going to pass in the first hundred seconds and in the first hundred months. Which one do you want first? Let’s start with…

The woman’s voice lowers but continues as lights go up in the dining room, where we see a cat jump off the table and wander into the office where the woman is hanging up the phone.

NP: Where were you sweetie? Was I ignoring you? Come here kitty kitty. I didn’t mean to ignore you.

The phone rings. The cat leaves.

NP: Hello? Yes, this is Nancy Pelosi. Yes, I know, but an investigation investigates. It doesn’t impeach. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Will you excuse me a second?

Nancy gets up and walks to door of dining room, where cat is sprawled on the table.

NP: Impeachment! Get off the table! Now!

The cat flees.

NP: I’m sorry. No. No. It was some, um. There were some stem cells, I mean a doctor about some stem – Dennis Hastert? Why would anyone want to clone Dennis Hastert? I don’t follow. Listen, impeachment is off the table. I assure you. Because we’ve been given a mandate to effect change and…

Nancy’s voice lowers and drones on as a bloody corpse enters the dining room and collapses on the table with a groan. Blood drips audibly onto the floor.

NP: …so those children will be covered with a low adjustible deductible payment during the first three years without illnesses. Can you excuse me a moment?

Nancy looks into dining room. Unfazed, she returns to phone, just as someone knocks at her office door.

NP: Hello? Yes, I’m going to need to call you back. Yes, off the table. That’s a pledge. That’s a blood oath, a pledge. Yes.

Nancy opens the door to greet two men with a television camera and a microphone.

Media: Are we on time?

NP: Yes, yes, come on in. Let me just get some notes. Have a seat.

Nancy goes into the office and closes the door behind her. She drags the corpse off the table, thumping its head on a chair and the floor, splattering blood everywhere, and shuts the corpse in a closet where we see that there are already several others. Nancy returns to the office.

NP: I’m sorry to keep you waiting. Why don’t we go into the other room where there’s more room? Let me get my papers. These are just a few of the bills we’re going to pass in the first hundred legislative minutes…

Nancy picks up a three-foot-high stack of papers and carries it into the dining room with the camera crew behind her. Nancy lays the papers out on the table, especially where the blood is. She puts some on the chairs and floor where the blood is. The paper soaks up the blood.

Media: May we begin filming?

NP: Yes, of course.

Media: Congresswoman Pelosi, on November 7th your home town of San Francisco was one of the cities where voters approved resolutions calling on Congress to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney. There are those here in Washington concerned that, being from San Francisco, you might support gay marriage, thereby lowering the supply of unmarried young men in need of drudge work to build their political resumes, which… I mean, let me rephrase that to be more clear. There are concerns that you might be influenced by the people who live in your district who want impeachment.

NP: That’s absurd. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Impeachment is off the table. And when I say off the table…

A naked man of Arab descent walks in and climbs onto the table on hands and knees.

NP:…I mean that we will be conducting investigations into a number of issue and policy areas, but an investigation is not an impeachment commission.

Six more naked men follow and they form a pyramid atop the table.

Media: With all due respect, I know that you’ve stated that position, but given the abundant, I mean the almost unavoidable fact that you are from San Francisco and do have the voting record of a terrorist-loving America-hating liberal radical, can you assure us that you will never ever pursue impeachment, for example around the sort of issues addressed by the Military Commissions Act?

Three men in dark suits, sunglasses, and ear microphones enter the office and begin setting up small cameras, searching through computers and drawers and a purse, planting recording devices on the phones, etc…

NP: I can promise you no articles of impeachment, no investigation into impeachment, and no reprieve for the enemies of freedom.

Media: Yes, but if you have an investigation and if for some reason that investigation is allowed to proceed to the point of, say…

The men in suits come into the dining room where they attach electronic devices to the naked men on the table.

Media: …of, say, questioning the President’s authority in time of war to create terrorism surveillance programs that don’t comply with a 30-year-old law…

The men in suits administer electric shocks to the naked men who scream in agony. The men in suits leave.

Media: I mean, in a sense, with Secretary Rumsfeld already having resigned isn’t it the Democrats’ turn to make a concession in the interests of the sort of bipartisan civility and cooperation that the voters showed they wanted last week?

NP: Yes, of course.

The naked men continue to scream and to fall off the table, dead.

Media: For some reason I continue to have the impression that you will not be able to avoid impeachment. Can you assure us that it is off the table?

NP: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Impeachment is off the table.

Cameramen leave. Nancy begins dragging new corpses to the closet.
= == ===

“UK Corporate Media: Social Media Platforms Must Pay” by Mike Robinson (UK Column)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The British corporate media is in desperate straits. With revenues collapsing, they are begging government to act…

Corporate media has been slow to react to the rise of the internet, and particularly the impact of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter…

The result has been devastating for corporate media. They have purged their best journalistic talent. They have imposed article quotas on the inexperienced staff they now employ. They have put their content behind paywalls, restricting their narratives to the few willing, or stupid enough, to pay.

As a result, each publisher, desperate for eyeballs, churns out low quality, unverified content rehashed from each other, and from corporate and government press releases. All the while they accuse social media of being an echo chamber…

In the meantime, the Cairncross Review is their best option: perhaps the social media platforms will pay?…

“The primary focus of concern today,” said the NMA, “is the loss of advertising revenues which have previously sustained quality national and local journalism and are now flowing to the global search engines and social media companies who make no meaningful contribution to the cost of producing the original content from which they so richly benefit.”

Some may argue that they have a point: publishers see their revenues collapse, while Google and Facebook in particular pull in billions. For them it is the fault of “giants” who make “no meaningful contribution”.

Is this the case? Or is it more likely that what we’re seeing are market forces at work here: no-one is buying what they are selling?

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